A chronological history of ministry to men
1769 First Brotherhood organized by John Wesley in England.
1894 … First record of a meeting of the U.S.-based Methodist Brotherhood of St. Paul. 1898… Brotherhood of St. Paul holds national conference.
1899 The Mizpah Brotherhood is organized; it is later called the Wesley Brotherhood.
1907 The Brotherhood of St. Paul unites with the Wesley Brotherhood to form the Methodist Brotherhood. That organization forms the Knights of Methodism, an organization for boys.
1908 Meeting in Baltimore, Md., the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church authorizes Methodist Brotherhoods.
1909 The Otterbein Brotherhood of the Church is organized in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ; the Rev, Warren L. Bunger is elected director.
1913 Dr. C. W. Brewbaker is elected general secretary of Sunday school and Brotherhood work of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. 1922 The Methodist Episcopal Church South creates a Board of Lay Activities. Dr. George Morelock, lay leader of the Memphis Annual Conference, is elected top staff executive.
1924 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church authorizes Wesley Brotherhoods. Morelock creates the Methodist Layman, a quarterly magazine for men of that denomination.
1928 Men of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South creates the Joint Committee on Men’s Work.
1929 The Otterbein Brotherhood of the Church of the United Brethren is revived; the Rev. M. I. Weber assumes responsibility for Brotherhood work. 1930 The Evangelical Church creates the Albright Brotherhood.
1931 The Albright Brotherhood of the Evangelical Church organizes.
1934 The Methodist Layman is absorbed into the Nashville-based Christian Advocate.
1939 Three Methodist denominations are merged into The Methodist Church. Meeting in Atlantic City, the united General Conference creates a Board of Lay Activities based in Chicago; that board elects Edgar Welch as president. Morelock continues as executive secretary and Dow Bancroft is hired as associate secretary. The new Methodist board reissues the Methodist Layman quarterly magazine.
1940 A new Otterbein Brotherhood organization is authorized.
1941 The United Brethren in Christ Church creates a new Otterbein Brotherhood. 1942 The name Methodist Men is adopted. First six charters are issued. Work spreads to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Chile, Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska and Liberia.
1943 Dr. W. R. Montgomery becomes leader of the Otterbein Brotherhood.
1946 Brotherhood of the Evangelical United Brethren Church holds its first convention during the uniting conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and The Evangelical Church in First United Brethren Church, Johnstown, Pa.
1947 George Morelock retires as top executive of the Methodist Men Department. Shelby Southard becomes editor of the magazine.
1950 Bob Mayfield named head of Methodist Men Department. Mayfield enters military in December. Robert Williams succeeds him. Alaska Methodist University is created in Anchorage. Methodist Men furnish the library.
1951 2,500 chartered groups.
1952 Methodist Men Radio Hour originates with 38 stations. The Rev. Charles Goff, pastor of First Methodist Church in Chicago, is the speaker.
1953 First Methodist Men’s Conference at Purdue University, 4,000 present. The 5,000th charter issued. Don Calame joins Methodist Men staff.
1954 Name of men’s work program of the Evangelical United Brethren Church is changed from Brotherhood to Evangelical United Brethren Men. 6,000 men attend gathering at Purdue University.
1956 10,000 chartered groups.
1957 Men’s Congress at Purdue University, 5,000 present.
1958 Methodist Men Radio Hour is broadcast over 400 stations.
1960 Bob Mayfield hires Newman Cryer as editor of the Methodist Layman
1961 Third Methodist Men’s Congress at Purdue University, 4,700 present.
1962 18,000 chartered groups. 1964 The Methodist Layman magazine is discontinued. Men are encouraged to subscribe to the new Together magazine.
1965 Men’s Congress at Purdue University, 4,700 present. Change of direction on men’s work with General Board of Laity; Men’s organization given low priority; 15,444 chartered groups.
1967 Charter groups decrease to 9,941.
1968 Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church unify into the United Methodist Church. Men’s ministries are combined into UM Men. Chartered groups decrease to 4,861.
1969 National Congress of UM Men at Purdue University, 4,600 present. 1970 5,744 chartered groups.
1972 General Conference creates the General Board of Discipleship and places UM Men as a unit within the Nashville-based agency.
1973 Men’s conference becomes laity conference. Board of Discipleship sets priority on UM Men.
1974 Jim Snead hired as staff executive for men’s ministry. Conference presidents elect committee to draft legislation for UM Men. First workshop for UM Men presidents held with conference lay leaders in Chicago.
1975 Task Force on Legislation drafts plans to create UM Men. National Association of Conference Presidents (NACP) is formed; Judge Ed Boardman of Florida elected president.
1976 Second NACP annual meeting; by-laws and constitution approved. General Conference adopts legislation of UM Men as a Section in the Division of Lay Life and Work of the General Board of Discipleship.
1977 National Congress of UM Men at Purdue University, 3,800 present. Upper Room Living Prayer Center opens.
1978 Allen Brown employed as assistant to Snead; 1,300 chartered groups.UM Men agree to provide $20,000 for the Upper Room Living Prayer Center. First meeting of conference prayer advocates.
1979 Dale Waymire, Madill, Okla., elected NACP president.
1980 Roy Lifsey, Douglas, Ga., elected chair of the Section on UM Men, General Board of Discipleship. Men provide $25,000 for prayer line.
1981 Warren Hostetler, Amboy, Ind., elected NACP president. National Congress of UM Men at Purdue University, 5,400 present. Every Man Shares (EMS) program is introduced. UM Men Foundation is chartered; men contribute $61,000. Dale Waymire is elected president of the UMM Foundation.
1982 Kenneth Weatherford, Lawrenceville, Ga., elected NACP president to serve out the unexpired term of deceased President Warren Hostetler.
1983 Weatherford re-elected president for two-year term; 7,884 chartered groups.
1984 Roy Lifsey re-elected chair of the Section on UM Men; 8,663 chartered groups.
1985 Harold Batiste, San Antonio, Texas, elected NACP president. National Congress of UM Men at Purdue University features “Spiritual Journey for Men”; 6,055 present. $112,000 contributed in pledges; 9,283 chartered groups. First “Remote” Prayer Center held at Purdue.
1986 9,306 chartered groups.
1987 Harold Batiste re-elected NACP president. First Bowl-a-thon raises $109,464 for UM Men Foundation. Men’s Section, General Board of Discipleship, is raised to division status; 9,685 chartered groups.
1988 Chuck Jones, Van Nuys, Calif., elected chair of the newly formed Men’s Division. Second Bowl-a-thon raises $119,533. General Conference requires each local church and charge to have an organized unit of UM Men recertified annually. UM Men Foundation Scouting endowment reaches $202,821; 10,050 chartered groups.
1989 Ernie Wendell, Durham, N.C., elected NACP president. Bowl-a-thon raises $105,585. International Congress of UM Men, 5,200 present; 10,555 chartered groups.
1990 Bowl-a-thon raises $140,000. UM Men Foundation assets total $529,169; 11,505 chartered groups.
1991 Stan England, Kennesaw, Ga., elected president of NACP, Bowl-a-thon nets $81,488. UM Foundation assets total $480,272; 9,325 chartered groups; 9,108 EMS members. Martha Davis, a staff member of the Upper Room is transferred to the Men’s Division to become charter system administrator.
1992 Stan England re-elected NACP president for the 1993-1996 quadrennium. Bowl-a-thon nets $134,360. UM Men Foundation assets total $665,236; 9,743 chartered groups; 8,112 EMS members. Leonard Thompson, Baltimore, Md., elected chair of the Men’s Division of the General Board of Discipleship for the 1993-1996 quadrennium. The Rev. Byron Lee White hired as the director of scouting ministries. The first National Conference on Black Men in Crisis; over 500 in attendance.
1993 The Men’s Division becomes part of a new structure within the General Board of Discipleship known as “Streams.” The Men’s Division becomes part of Stream II (Laity in Ministry). Bowl-a-thon receipts total $86,684.UM Men Foundation assets total $847,586. Congress of UM Men is held at Purdue University, 4,500 present. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,072,307; 9,593 chartered groups; 8,311 EMS members. The Office of Scouting Ministries becomes the Office of Civic Youth-Serving Agencies/Scouting. Bowl-a-thon raises $125,669; 9,993 chartered groups; 10,017 EMS members. Second National Conference on Black Men in Crisis, 500 present. Allen Brown retires.
1995 UM Men Foundation assets total $1,081,769. Jim Snead resigns from General Board of Discipleship to become director of development for Asbury Theological Seminary and executive director of the UM Men Foundation. Bowl-a-thon raises $86,011. 1996 Foye Webb becomes team leader of UM Men’s Division. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,243,264. Robert Powell, Dothan, Ala., elected NACP president for the 1997-2000 quadrennium.
1996 General Conference creates General Commission on UM Men. Bishop Raymond Owen elected president of commission. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,284,392; Bowl-athon raises $75,654. Allen Brown serves as interim general secretary while the commission searches for a new executive.
1997 Dr. Joseph L. Harris is elected general secretary for the new commission. Congress of UM Men is held at Purdue University, 3,445 present. Attendees pledge $408,000 over four years. Larry Malone named director of Men’s Ministry. Larry Coppock named director of youth-serving ministries. Martha Davis is transferred from the Men’s Division to the commission, and eventually named chief operating officer. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,419,265; Bowl-athon nets $85,848. Robert Powell is elected NACP president.
1998 GCUMM publishes a new quarterly magazine, UM Men: Uniting Men and Meaning; Malone serves as editor of the 24-page publication. Black Men’s Conference at the Atlanta Convention Center, 1,200 present. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,560,480; Bowl-a-thon raises $27,725.
1999 The first national Hunger Relief Advocate for Society of St. Andrew is named. Sadie Barry works out of the UMM office. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,489,419; Bowl-a-thon raises $67,156. 2000 General Conference increases the number of board members from 23 to 40, including two Central Conference representatives. Gilbert Hanke, Nacogdoches, Texas, elected NACP president for the 2001-2004 quadrennium. Robert Powell elected president of UM Men Foundation. Del Ketcham joins the UMM staff as the Society of St. Andrew National Hunger relief advocate. Bishop Ernest Lyght elected as board president for the 2001-2004 quadrennium. UM Men Foundation assets total $1,413,210; Bowl-a-thon raises $89,931. 2001 Congress of UM Men is held at Purdue University, 3,766 present. A California Eagle Scout seeks commission help to republish World War II book Strength for Service to God and Country (SFS). Cal Turner, CEO of Dollar General, makes a $1 million gift to the UM Men Foundation, its largest gift ever; foundation assets total $1,663,141. Sport-a-thon raises $19,318; 7,886 chartered groups; 9,891 EMS members 2002 The commission publishes T-Quest, a small-group resource for men; 5,135 chartered groups; 9,964 EMS members. Ten thousand SFS books are shipped to soldiers serving in Afghanistan. The UM Men magazine changes from standard size to digest size; Kwasi Kena, a D.Min. graduate of United Theological Seminary, serves as editor.
2003 5,542 chartered groups 2004 Gil Hanke, Nacogdoches, Texas, elected president of the commission for the 2005-2008 quadrennium. Glenn Wintemberg elected NACP president; 4,934 chartered groups; 8,781 EMS members. The board of directors for the commission is reduced from 40 members to 25.
2005 National Gathering of UM Men held at Purdue University, 2,066 present. Dr. Harris resigns as general secretary to become assistant to the bishop of the Oklahoma Area. Bishop William Morris named interim general secretary. Glenn Wintemberg is elected NACP president. Commission signs covenant with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Legacy Builders is introduced as a new annual fund with 868 donors and $114,000 pledged; 5,330 chartered groups; 8,064 EMS members. The UMC ends 2005 as the second largest charter organization of the BSA with 376,472 youth and 11,864 units meeting in 8,000 UM churches. Rich Peck, former manager of general periodicals with the UM Publishing House, replaces Kena as editor of the magazine.
2006 Commission moves into new offices on Nashville’s Music Row. The Rev. David Adams elected general secretary of the commission. First training session for men’s ministry specialists conducted. Over 250,000 copies of Strength for Service distributed. UM Publishing House becomes the new SFS publisher. UM Men Foundation assets total over $2 million. Legacy Builders grows to 933 donors giving $129,617. 2007 Ed and Gwen Cole donate $500,000 to pay off the debt on the UM Men building in Nashville. The commission completes a study of men. Only 27.2% of the men surveyed said they had a close friend, and only 32% said their pastor ministered to men. The commission has now distributed 300,000 copies of Strength for Service. A new website is launched.
2008 General Conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of men’s ministry. Scouting introduces the office of scouting ministry specialists along with the Silver Torch Award and Shepherd Church Charter recognition. Bishop James King is elected president of the commission; John Dowell is elected NACP president. Big Brothers-Big Sisters added as partner agency.
2009 Bishop James King elected president of the commission. UM Men hold their 10th National Gathering at Belmont University in Nashville; 1,233 people attended. David Adams resigns as general secretary. John Dowell is elected NACP president. Robert Powell resigns as director and president of the UMM Foundation Carl Young assumes responsibility for the $2.1 million foundation. Ten people are certified as men’s ministry specialists and 45 certified as scouting ministry specialists.
2010 Gil Hanke is elected general secretary. Amachi program of Big Brothers Big Sisters introduced to 11 annual conferences. Circuit Rider Society created for those giving at least $1,500 annually. Larry Malone retires at end of year.
2011 Four volunteers are recruited and trained as deployed staff members: Greg Arnold, Mark Lubbock, Mark Dehority, and Jim Boesch. Some 452,000 copies of Strength for Service have been distributed. Amachi program expanded to 17 annual conferences; 130 persons certified as scouting ministry specialists. Twenty-nine men certified as men’s ministry specialists. UM Men Foundation has assets totaling $2.26 million
2012 A General Conference plan to restructure the denomination is found unconstitutional by the Judicial Council. The number of members of the General Commission on UM Men is reduced from 25 to 20. Bishop James Swanson is elected president of the commission. Dan Ramsey, of Houston, Texas, is elected NACP president. Ed Shytle is elected president of the UMM Foundation.
2013 The commission publishes Strength for Service to God and Community, a book for first responders, and forms a non-denominational group to promote and distribute both Strength for Service books. Some 800 people attend the 11th National Gathering at Belmont University. The commission creates the Susanna Wesley Award for women. Men give $25,185 to Upper Room Prayer Line and $179,800 to the Society of St. Andrew Meals for Millions program. 2014 The commission forms a non-denominational Strength for Service non-profit (501c3) corporation and L.W. Smith is named president and Larry Coppock is named acting executive director. UM Men give $20,980 to the Upper Room Prayer Line, a ministry that responded to 273,580 prayer requests. Twenty-eight conference increased the number of charters. Thirty-seven men have been certified as men’s ministry specialists.
2015 The commission formally adopts four affiliate partners UMM Foundation, NACP, Society of St. Andrew and Strength for Service. UMM cooperates with four other denominational groups to provide 20,000 New Testaments to Scout troops. NACP holds first national contest for the most outstanding ministries; Christ of the Hills UMC in Arkansas receives top prize. There are 3,761 chartered groups, 3,060 EMS members, 36 men’s ministry specialists and 300 scouting ministry specialists.
2016 Steve Nailor is elected NACP president. Glenn Wintemberg is elected president of the UMM Foundation. Queen’s Chapel UMC in Beltsville, Md., receives top local church honors in the second national contest. General Conference sessions are held in Portland, Ore. The Rev Dr. Rick Vance, a Delaware pastor, is named director of men's ministry.
2017 Six hundred and thirty people attend the 12th National Gathering of UM Men at St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis. Participants deliver 21,000 pounds of potatoes, build handicap ramps and hand-crank carts. Speakers include Bishop James Swanson, Bishop Jonathan Holston, Shan Foster and Kevin Watson. Northside UMC in Jackson, Tenn., is selected as top local church ministry to men. Larry Coppock is named top executive of Strength for Service and the commission begins a search for a new director of scouting ministries.
2018 The commission agrees to operate out of two centers, The Center for Men’s Ministry and the Center for Scouting Ministry. Steven Scheid is selected as director for the Scouting Ministry Center. He leads an effort to get UM congregations to welcome Latter-day Saint scouts into their troops as that faith community ends its relationship with BSA at the end of 2019. Gil Hanke and Rick Vance work with the YWCA of Middle Tennessee to develop “Amending through Faith”, an eight-week study, designed to combat a culture that treats women as sexual objects. The UM Men Foundation changes the Life Membership Award to the Life Achievement Award. A record 46 people attend UM Scouters’ Conference at the Philmont Training Center. Men contribute $25,245 to the Upper Room Living Prayer Center.
2019 Joe Strausbaugh, charter system administrator, leaves the staff and Lucretia (Cre) Ward assumes that position. The Upper Room Prayer Line discontinues the practice of receiving prayer requests by phone. Requests are now posted on a website and UM Men respond to those requests. The commission establishes an October “Give Day” and celebrated the accomplishments of the commission as several members, including. Bishop Swanson is the first 8-year president of the commission, completing his term in 2020. UM Men magazine moves from a print publication to a digital publication. Thirty-four men are certified as men’s ministry specialists, and 368 people have been certified as scouting ministry specialists.
2020 In March 2020, a time when people were only beginning to be aware of a coming pandemic, 81 conference presidents of UM Men gathered for a 4-day meeting in the Denman Building, a Nashville building owned by Discipleship Ministries, including the world-famous Upper Room Chapel. Herman Lightsey, a former president of South Carolina Annual Conference is elected president of the NACP and Steve Nailor is elected president of the UM Men Foundation.
2021 The world is now aware of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The Denman building and the Upper Room Chapel is closed and conference presidents meet virtually on two occasions. Gil Hanke tell some 40 participants that the pandemic has resulted in a decline in the number of chartered organizations, a loss of $100,000 and a 40 percent reduction in the amount of money provided by the denomination through the World Service Fund. He notes that during the pandemic UM Men have used Zoom to recover Wesley Class Meetings, a practice that expanded the denominations outreach following the Revolutionary War. Steven Scheid lamented opportunities for Scout leaders to meet face-to-face, but the number of Scout leaders trained in Zoom workshops has increased. “In a typical Scouter’s Religious Academy, we have 50 to 70 participants,” said Scheid. “We shared a virtual conference with 364 participants.” Rick Vance said the increased use of Zoom technology provided opportunities for conference and jurisdictional leaders of men’s ministry to pray together. It has also enabled the center to reach out to men in other nations. Men from Estonia, Philippines, Zimbabwe, and Germany participated in a Watch Night service. Gil Hanke announces he will retire before the end of the year and a search committee is formed to find a new chief executive officer of the commission.